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1-Nov-2

5 words and phrases to avoid in job adverts

We look at the dated phrases and words that appear in almost all job adverts that you no longer need…

Job adverts have their own special language, full of suggestion, innuendos and metaphors aimed at attracting enough job applicants that you can find the right one, but not too many that you’ll spend the next month going through them all.

Tablet computer on a desk - Job and Career

And while some of these general terms are useful, there are some that can be consigned to the rubbish tip…

1. ‘Can do’
Usage: ‘Do you have a can do attitude?’

The answer is it doesn’t matter, because no one is going to admit otherwise.

This is one of these empty phrases that are often used to make jobs sound more exciting and dynamic than they actually are. A good rule of thumb when looking at such phrases is to consider what the opposite would be. Would someone really admit they had a ‘can’t do’ attitude?

Alternatives…
Just be clear. If you mean you’re looking for proactive people who will actively seek new responsibilities, just say so.

2. ‘Passionate’
Usage: ‘You must be passionate about data processing.’

Ok, so we want someone who is keen and wants to do the job. But let’s be honest, we’re not all passionate about our jobs.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not good at them. You don’t have to spend your spare time reading dense articles on your chosen career to be a good employee.

Alternatives…
‘You must have knowledge and experience of data processing.’ Anyone who’s been in an industry long enough to gain both knowledge and experience must take some joy from their work.

3. ‘Dynamic’
Usage: ‘Seeking dynamic starters for an exciting position’.

Like ‘can do’ it’s one of those phrases that are pointless because no one is going to admit that they’re not dynamic. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even admit it to themselves, even if they knew they weren’t.

Alternatives…
‘Seeking someone willing to offer ideas and work hard for rewards.’ While people also wouldn’t admit that they’re not hard working, by specifying this it suggests they’ll be pushed to their limits.

4. ‘Large’
Usage: ‘Have you handled a large team?’

Can you define large? Or senior? One person’s large might be another’s small. Try and avoid any words like this that could be taken out of context.

Alternatives…
Stick with specifics that would be expected in the new role, like ‘Have you handled a team of more than 5 people?’

5. ‘Detail oriented’
Usage: ‘You must be detail oriented’.

Again, you’d hope that anyone would be detailed orientated and that people wouldn’t work in generalities.

Alternatives…
Instead of asking for this, look for it. If their CV is full of typos, then they’re clearly not ‘detailed oriented’.